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  #21  
Old 24.10.2006, 20:11
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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Is religion the cause of all evil? [because of man]
If evil can exist without a religious context, then I disagree.

I should have thought that most religions have a definition of evil, as most religions concern themselves to some extent with a moral framework that, from the point of view of the believer, might constitute an "absolute" or objective position.

Does evil exist outside of moral frameworks? In the same way that the speed of light or rest mass of an electron exists? I'm not sure.
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  #22  
Old 24.10.2006, 20:19
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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Wow! another friend of the Church of the Subgenius.
Yes, one must have Slack!
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  #23  
Old 24.10.2006, 20:22
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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Listen to Zappa.
That's right!

And if these words you do not heed
Your pocketbook just kinda might recede
When some man comes along and
claims a godly need
He'll clean you out right through your tweed

That's right, remember there's a big
difference between kneeling down
and bending over...
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  #24  
Old 24.10.2006, 20:26
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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Yes, one must have Slack!
Save us from the Pinks!
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  #25  
Old 24.10.2006, 20:58
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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Then there's the "one true god" thing and "if you don't believe with me, you're going to rot in hell" (or the religion's version thereof).
Yeah, it's just like a dangerous game of "who has the biggest imaginary friend?".
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  #26  
Old 25.10.2006, 08:00
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

if you ask me, religion is a clever little invention that allows the user / practitioner to

- 'explain' what one doesn't really understand

- (attempt to) impose one's will on others, when the law will not provide a good enough excuse

- to organize oneself into cosy groups that help one feel better about oneself, and thereby exclude/dominate/abuse others who will not join the tribal group


if I had my way, I would ban all organized religion... certainly any public display of it.
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  #27  
Old 25.10.2006, 09:24
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

dino, you forgot one thing: to make people believe in something they cannot actually prove happened or exists.

So 9/11 might've been a religious event - as was man landing on the moon...
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  #28  
Old 25.10.2006, 10:05
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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- (attempt to) impose one's will on others, when the law will not provide a good enough excuse

- to organize oneself into cosy groups that help one feel better about oneself, and thereby exclude/dominate/abuse others who will not join the tribal group

if I had my way, I would ban all organized religion... certainly any public display of it.
BINGO!!!!!! VERY VERY well said mate. It's kind of shameful that in this day and age people are blind and prefer to delude themselves with religion. I get into countless arguments with my mum as she just seems to ignore the fact that I don't believe in a man made Santa..err I mean "GOD".

I do think that people will fight even if no religion existed but what religion DEFINITELY does is give a free for all mass license to inflict evil on faithless people or people of different faiths.


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I myself am an athiest, but will defend the right to religious freedom. So in other words if people believe in things like a virgin birth, creationism etc good luck to them. I'll defend their right to practice their faith in whatever way they so choose (as long as it is not violent or imposes on others), but don't expect me to actually believe any of it.
That is kind of paradoxical statement. If you are directly or indirectly helping in promotion of religion then you are not really an atheist. Why would you help somethign that you seem to think is wrong? Not that it matters but I am just saying

Quote:
(as long as it is not violent or imposes on others)
The above always happens, is happening and wil happen the way things are gping. What will you do when the above happens in the way you deem it to be "violent and imposed on others"?
The eductaion has to start now and not when religious zealouts are in majority. Look at US...40-50% religious folks and alreadylot of them are gunning to impose their views on everyone. I won't even go into religious societies in rest of the world where being faithless can get you killed.

Let me give another example-

If there are faith based schools then you I assume would not oppose them as it's the parents business to decide where to send their kids? Correct?
I on the other hand think that sending kids to faith based schools at a tender age is one of the worst forms of child abuse that can be comitted. It screws their impressionable brain forever and makes them into ticking religious time bombs that feed into the sewer of religious intolerance and hatred. I do understand roughly where you are coming from but your view is very simplistic but you are fully entitled to it.

I forgot who said it but I want to clear that Hitler was NOT an Atheist. One small example amongst plenty-

"Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord. " Adolf Hitler, from "Mein Kampf", translation by Ralph Mannheim

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It's not the Bible or Koran that are the problem it's man's (an it's generally men) interpretation of the same and resulting impossition of his ideas in the name of religion.
Who do you think wrote those books? It was men...there is no such thing as divine intervention or divine book.

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It stands to reason that no releigion (Christian or Muslem) that preaches peace and turn the other cheek would not be resposible for so many wars without manipulation...
The impression the above statement gives is that the the original source was clean but got muddied and wrongly interpreted by men. The FACT is that the original source was not peaceful and still is not peaceful and is a manual full of hatred. The amount of contradictions in those books in itself is laughable. MAN is the cause of EVERYTHING as there is no "other" thing. The books were written by schizophrenics and contain the words and beliefs of MEN and are followed by MEN.
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  #29  
Old 25.10.2006, 11:28
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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I on the other hand think that sending kids to faith based schools at a tender age is one of the worst forms of child abuse that can be comitted. It screws their impressionable brain forever and makes them into ticking religious time bombs that feed into the sewer of religious intolerance and hatred.
The recent rise in popularity of faith based schools in England is alarming and seems to be totally sanctioned by the government. I've seen cases of schools in England where teachers have been removed because their belief system differs to that of the governors. In some cases this has been due to the school wanting to teach creationism rather than the educational accepted norm of evolution. The parents within the area have very little choice but to send their children to these schools and their views have not been listened to.

All of this is happening in an apparently secular society. I find this very worrying indeed and we are surely creating many problems for the future.
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  #30  
Old 25.10.2006, 12:51
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

Yes Mikey it's mind numbing that instead of things going upwards they are going down back to the middle ages. I wish there was a "get out" option that would protect and detach people like me from all this madness and fighting!

P.S- I hope my previous long post made some sense despite numerous typos.
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  #31  
Old 25.10.2006, 14:32
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

It’s a weird thing that even Rene Descartes actually believed in a god. He was the supreme rationalist who came up with the concept of eliminating everything and trying to come up with complete and inarguable truths; his process of ‘hyperbolic doubt’. Hence “I think, therefore I am”. All he could prove was that he thought, and in order to think, he must exist, though not necessarily in the spud-faced human form he apparently inhabited.

He screwed up in proving the existence of God, taking some wild leaps as truth (i.e. that nothing can create anything better than itself so an object weighing 1Kg cannot come from an object weighing 900g) and for the possibility of perfection (as in mathematics) to exist something perfect must have created it.

Get grip Rene!

Still, it shows that there is an innate human need for God such that even a hyperbolic doubting genius such as Descartes will overlook logic in order to believe in it.

Ric earlier said “i do believe that religion may have even been useful, and even necessary, at one stage in mankinds development” then didn’t argue it further.

I believe this. Nothing that is so widespread is likely to have come about spontaneously and to have lasted for so long unless it conferred some kind of evolutionary advantage. I imagine that whatever that mechanism was it is irrelevant today, but who knows? Perhaps my devout atheism (Except for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism) will bite me in the evolutionary arse one day.

Which is partly why I say that, although I am anti-religion, I am not strongly so. I am very anti those psychopathic lunatics of any religion who use it as a reason or an excuse to bomb their neighbours or steal their lands, but I do try to understand that some people need the crutch of an invisible, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient force that created the universe and has a direct hand in managing their lives. The ones whose greatest harm is waking me up with their sodding bells ringing on Sunday morning are OK. The ones who leave bombs in bus depots, invade their neighbours, torture and kill their own people or fly planes into office buildings, they are the buggers I hate.
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  #32  
Old 25.10.2006, 15:12
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

The closest thing to God for me is Richard Dawkins. I want to check out his just released new book. Check out his mini interview on British TV relevant to this discussion- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfnDdMRxMHY
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  #33  
Old 25.10.2006, 15:18
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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The closest thing to God for me is Richard Dawkins. I want to check out his just released new book. Check out his mini interview on British TV relevant to this discussion- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfnDdMRxMHY
There are some excerpts from his book on the BBC website from when he appeared on Newsnight.

Edit: just noticed your youtube link is from his Newsnight interview!
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  #34  
Old 25.10.2006, 16:16
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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I wish there was a "get out" option that would protect and detach people like me from all this madness and fighting!
That would be cool, a truly secular state that could isolate itself from the worlds madness. A place where nobody could impose their belief system on others or use it as a defence when initiating acts of aggression. Maybe we can get badges with slogans like "Don't bomb me I've opted out".

As an IT professional I have used and reviewed many books over the years. Some are guidelines on good practices etc. These books rapidly become outdated as new theories are developed and refined. I find it completey acceptable in my daily life to have a changing or evolving set of guiding principles.

So why can't we do this with religion? Why is something that was written thousands of years ago just as relevant today? Why do people get so hooked on these principles that they are closed to any new ideas or interpretations?

It would be insane in my daily work to assume that the principles first presented twenty or thirty years ago are still valid in their original form. So why is it that some people are allowed to get away with using principles adopted thousands of years ago to wage wars?

Religion is not the cause of all evil. Man's single minded reluctance to adapt it through the years is.
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  #35  
Old 25.10.2006, 16:27
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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That would be cool, a truly secular state that could isolate itself from the worlds madness. A place where nobody could impose their belief system on others or use it as a defence when initiating acts of aggression. Maybe we can get badges with slogans like "Don't bomb me I've opted out".
OK, I'm going to have to pitch in

Great idea:
Let's use science to build a starship and live on another planet.
Let's leave the superstitious god-botherers down here, howling at the moon (or whatever they do)
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  #36  
Old 25.10.2006, 17:52
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

To answer the original question, I don't think religion is the cause of all evil. I think the root of all evil is greed. Religion is supposed to help us overcome the faults of human nature but the problem is most of the time it is used as a reason to advance greed. Most of the things done in the name of God (whoever that God is) is actually greediness for wealth and power. The crusades were not about God. It's about getting wealth. Take for example the crusades against the Cathars in Southern France, that was not because they were gnostics, it was because they were getting too rich and powerful. Hence when they asked the Pope at that time (Innocent III, I think) if children and women should be spared, his reply was to "kill them all, God will recognize his own". If that was for God then what could be for the Devil?

Anyway, I am not an atheist (yet). I believe that there MUST be a God but I don't believe in any religion because it doesn't make sense to me. Take for example offering flowers to God. Why should we do that when God is supposed to own everything? God must make sense because when you look at nature, at the evolution of life, chemistry, physics, it all makes sense. It is all governed by laws that makes sense (except maybe quantum physics?). Therefore if there is a God then he must make sense and is therefore not petty and evil and should not care if one wears a cross or a veil or if one goes to church or a mosque. It should be deeper than that.
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  #37  
Old 26.10.2006, 00:58
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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To answer the original question, I don't think religion is the cause of all evil. I think the root of all evil is greed.
I don't fully buy in to this. Ok so George W and his cohorts will make a stack of cash out of the most recent wars (I think that we all knew that before the first cruise missile was fired). But, Osama Bin-Laden is a fairly wealthy type, so what does he stand to gain from all of his foot stamping? I think that he's in it for something other than cold hard cash.

Also, Mr Blair doesn't really stand to gain a lot except for the usual fat-cat job when he's finished running the country in to the ground. But this just seems to be the standard for politicians these days anyway.

In fact, if you consider that greed is the prime motivation for most of the evil these days then I'd have to give a hell of a lot more respect to Osama then I care to.
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  #38  
Old 26.10.2006, 10:51
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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I don't think religion is the cause of all evil. I think the root of all evil is greed.
I don't buy this either.
As much as I don't like greed, it is a very human idea, again part of the evolutionary step. If you take more than you fair share of the natural resources (nuts, water, whatever) than you are denying a competitor these resources and therefore increasing your chances for survival.

"We're a virus with shoes"
-Bill Hicks

Sad, but i do consider it a natural human instinct, something we should strive to rise above.
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  #39  
Old 26.10.2006, 11:34
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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Quote:
I myself am an athiest, but will defend the right to religious freedom. So in other words if people believe in things like a virgin birth, creationism etc good luck to them. I'll defend their right to practice their faith in whatever way they so choose (as long as it is not violent or imposes on others), but don't expect me to actually believe any of it.
That is kind of paradoxical statement. If you are directly or indirectly helping in promotion of religion then you are not really an atheist. Why would you help somethign that you seem to think is wrong? Not that it matters but I am just saying
Ok, well since my claim to atheism has been questioned on another thread (as somehow meaning that I am not allowed to also argue for religious freedom) then I feel this point has to be answered.

Why is this a paradox? By defending someone's rights to their own beliefs (if contrary to my own) then I am "indirectly helping in promotion of religion" and therefore cannot say that I am an atheist? Sorry, I can't disagree more strongly, what should I call myself? The Oxford English Dictionary defines atheism thus:


Quote:
atheism Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a god.
disbelieve 1. trans. Not to believe or credit; to refuse credence to: a. a statement or (alleged) fact: To reject the truth or reality of.
Sorry - I don't see anything in that definition that requires me to try to impose my view on others. Sure, I don't believe in a god - but all I am saying is that I will defend the right of anyone else to believe whatever they choose. Do I want to live in a world where religion is imposed on others? Hell no. Do I want to live in a world where people are prevented from having religious beliefs? While I believe that it would solve many problems, my answer is still no.

Quote:
If there are faith based schools then you I assume would not oppose them as it's the parents business to decide where to send their kids? Correct?
I on the other hand think that sending kids to faith based schools at a tender age is one of the worst forms of child abuse that can be committed. It screws their impressionable brain forever and makes them into ticking religious time bombs that feed into the sewer of religious intolerance and hatred. I do understand roughly where you are coming from but your view is very simplistic but you are fully entitled to it.
Well to be fair, I wasn't discussing faith-based schools, so I'm not sure which part of my argument was "simplistic"? Is it really fair to label my argument like that just because it goes against your own beliefs. Yes, my argument is very simple (live and let live), but I wouldn't quite go as far as simplistic. You can try to complicate things to make your point, but at the end of the day "it is what it is".

For what it's worth I agree with you that young children have very impressionable minds, and that it isn't fair to shape their beliefs at a young age. Should we then impose aethism (our belief) on them instead? Because we are right and the others are wrong? I fail to see how a school is somehow more dangerous than a parent. If parents choose to raise their children in a religious manner, who are we to stop this? If they send their child to a school organised by the same religion, and this school fulfils all the academic requirements of the country and follows the law - how can I demand that the children be removed from the school for their own protection? Think very carefully about where that argument might be leading - is that a world you really want?

The waters are somewhat muddied with the school thing however - as Mikey has already pointed out. Faith-based schools (at least in the UK) are seen by many non-religious parents as the only way that their child may be able to secure a decent education in many areas. This is a much broader issue and is not the fault of the religious schools themselves - it's more of a failure by the government to realise what a secular society means (in other words, don't give them direct funding, give the parents a refund on their tax instead) and of a failure to provide a decent standard of education in some areas.

Let's also not forget that suppression of religion by the state has often been used as a tool by governments to impose their own authority (since they are often threatened by the authority of the church to influence people). The government/monarch versus the church is a battle that has raged for centuries. I'd like to see a world where religion has less of an influence, but I'm not prepared to try and advocate the imposition of such a situation.

I'd also like to say that I was raised as a child in what I can only describe as a "fundamentalist Christian" upbringing. Yes, my impressionable mind was abused by this, but when I grew up I rejected these beliefs. I know first hand how this stuff works and it makes me sick to my stomach to be honest. So I can only repeat what I said earlier - so long as nobody tries to impose their beliefs on others, I'll defend their right to believe whatever they like and to practice their religion in their own homes and churches/mosques/temples as they see fit.

This in no way means that I cannot call myself an atheist. I see no contradiction or paradox here.
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  #40  
Old 26.10.2006, 15:37
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Re: Is religion the cause of all evil?

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Ok, well since my claim to atheism has been questioned on another thread (as somehow meaning that I am not allowed to also argue for religious freedom) then I feel this point has to be answered.
Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. Religious freedom means not having someone else's vision of god or non-god imposed on you.

How anyone could say that you, as an athiest, could not argue for religion is beyond me. That's like saying that a christian can't say that jews or muslims or pagans or buddhists or (insert flavor of choice here) can't say that the other should be allowed to freely choose their religion and belief system.

Quote:
Let's also not forget that suppression of religion by the state has often been used as a tool by governments to impose their own authority (since they are often threatened by the authority of the church to influence people).
My husband was born in Czechoslovakia, and his parents escaped with him in the 70s. He has told me how the church in Czechoslovakia and other communist countries were very close with radicals, the punk community, etc. Today, the church would never allow a punk band to play a show in their church - back before the fall of communism, the priests not only allowed it, but encouraged it. In a place where people would disappear wtihout a trace, the church was viewed the same as radicals, defectors, punks and the like by the communist governments. Interesting how today they're accepted by the government and have turned their backs on the same people/types of people they helped under communism.
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